AMD's ATi graphics division is hoping that budget-conscious gamers will smash open their piggy banks and spend money upgrading their graphics cards to one of the latest Radeon cards.The three new cards - the Radeon HD 3650, Radeon HD 3450 and the Radeon HD 3470 - undercut the existing Radeon HD 3850 and 3870 cards.
The new 34xx cards are both Cartwheel-certified which means that when they are combined with the upcoming RS780G integrated graphics chipset users will see quite a performance boost - from about 50% is Crysis to about 70% is Far Cry. In this configuration the card and the graphics chipset share the workload to improve performance.
The Radeon HD 3450 runs at 600MHz, uses 500MHz DDR2 memory and will be passively cooled while the faster Radeon HD 3470 runs at 800MHz, uses the faster 950MHz DDR3 memory and will require active cooling (in other words, a fan). Both cards support HDCP and HDMI (as in fact do all the HD 3xxx range), DirectX 10.1, PCI Express 2.0 and the HD 3470 even supports scaling to 1440p.
Prices for the Radeon HD 3450 and the Radeon HD 3470 cards is very attractive indeed, with the Radeon HD 3450 retailing at between $49 - $55 and the Radeon HD 3470 for $59 - $65.
The HD 3650 is a beefier card. It runs at 725 MHz and will come with either 256MB of 800MHz DDR3 or 256MB/512MB/1GB of 500MHz DDR2. As you'd expect this card supports DirectX 10.1 and PCI Express 2.0 but does not support Cartwheel.
Retail prices will be around $79 - $99. This card is set up to compete directly with nVIDIA's 8600GT cards.